New High-Mountain Trail Running Guide from CMC Press

Free chapter excerpt from new guidebook, Colorado Alpine Trail Runs  

Combining the joys of hiking and peak-bagging with the thrill of moving fast and covering lots of ground, high-mountain trail running is more popular than ever. Colorado Alpine Trail Runs makes it easy to find great places to run in the mountains. This essential guide features rugged trails and majestic vistas across Colorado, including 45 spectacular routes that vary in length from 4 to 30 miles, with options from mellow to challenging to suit a host of skill levels.

Enjoy a free excerpt and pre-order your copy of this new guidebook today!

Photos courtesy of Annalise Grueter

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MOUNT SNIKTAU

Total Distance 3.8 miles (out-and-back)

Starting Elevation 11,990 feet

High Point Elevation 13,234 feet

Total Elevation Gain 1,800 feet

Difficulty Beginner

Round-trip Time 50 minutes–1.5 hours

Runability 80%

Nearest Towns Silver Plume/Keystone

Add-on Cupid Peak (13,117 feet)

COMMENT: This low, welcoming 13er is one of the few alpine routes that is accessible year-round, weather permitting. The summit offers a vantage of Torreys Peak in stunning immediacy to the southeast. A wind layer is a must. This route offers an excellent starting point for transitioning from trail running to high-altitude alpine running. While high in elevation, with the majority of the route between 12,000 and 13,000 feet, it is a well-trodden, easy trail and is one of the shortest routes in this guidebook.

GETTING THERE: Park at the summit of Loveland Pass, 4.8 miles up US Highway 6 West from Exit 216 off of I-70. Dogs are permitted on the trail on leash.

THE ROUTE: Mount Sniktau starts steep from the small roadside parking lot. It gains 910 feet of its total vertical in the first mile. Since this is an extremely popular Front Range hike, the first mile of trail has been broadened and trampled by heavy foot traffic. To prevent further erosion, try to stay on the most heavily impacted section of trail. During snow season and from late spring to early summer, microspikes are valuable in navigating remaining snow.

Shortly before the 1-mile point, at about 0.9 mile, the trail turns left at a large cairn and heads northeast on single-track. The ridge here is rolling and wide, and the mile from the turn to the summit is deceptive; you’ll pass over many false summits along the trail. When you reach a high point at which your GPS shows between 1.8 and 1.9 miles, you’ve finally arrived.

Sniktau can be quite windy given its proximity to the Continental Divide, so keeping a wind jacket easily accessible is recommended. In early summer, the route offers striking views of nearby ski areas (Arapahoe Basin to the south and Loveland to the west) as well as the twin 14,000-foot peaks of Grays and Torreys to the southeast. Some of these vistas include the jagged teeth of the Eagles Nest Wilderness to the west and a prominent 13er called The Citadel across I-70 to the northwest.

Cupid Peak, Mount Sniktau’s neighbor to the south, can be added for 1.5 extra miles and 550 feet vertical gain round-trip on very similar terrain. Return to the large cairn at which you gained the ridge, then continue south along the trail for 0.75 mile to reach this second summit. The mellow and well-worn single-track between these two peaks makes for exhilarating, beautiful, and fast alpine running. After summiting Cupid, turn back northward and race back to the cairn, then descend back to Loveland Pass.

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To start planning your next trail run, order your copy of Colorado Alpine Trail Runs here.